WJSV Complete Broadcast Day On September 21, 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C.
transcribed an entire day of broadcasting. If you are curious as to what radio was actually
like in those days, there is no better way than by listening to these MP3 files.
This is 19 hours of audio on one CD, in the form of MP3 files.
Here is the itinerary of the broadcast:
6:30 Sundial with Arthur Godfrey (music)
8:30 Certified Magic Carpet (quiz show)
8:45 Bachelor's Children (soap)
9:00 Pretty Kitty Kelly (soap)
9:15 The Story of Myrt & Marge (soap)
9:30 Hilltop House (soap)
9:45 Stepmother (soap)
10:00 Mary Lee Taylor (soap)
10:15 Brenda Curtis (soap, featuring Agnes Moorehead)
10:30 Big Sister (soap)
10:45 Aunt Jenny's True Life Stories (soap that Bob & Ray loved to parody)
11:00 Jean Abbey (news for women)
11:15 When a Girl Marries (soap)
11:30 The Romance of Helen Trent (soap)
11:45 Our Gal Sunday (soap)
12:00 The Goldbergs (comedy)
12:15 Life Can Be Beautiful (soap)
12:30 Road of Life (soap)
12:45 This Day Is Ours (soap)
1:00 Sunshine Report (news)
1:15 The Life & Love of Dr. Susan (soap)
1:30 Your Family and Mine (soap)
2:00 President Roosevelt's Address to Congress (speech)
2:40 Premier Edouard Daladier
3:00 Address Commentary (news)
3:15 The Career of Alice Blair (soap)
3:30 News (news)
3:42 Rhythm & Romance
3:45 Scattergood Baines
4:00 Baseball: Cleveland Indians at Washington Senators (sports)
5:15 The World Dances (music)
5:30 News (news)
5:45 Sports News (news)
6:00 Amos and Andy (comedy)
6:15 The Parker Family (comedy)
6:30 Joe E. Brown (comedy)
7:00 Ask-It Basket (quiz)
7:30 Strange as it Seems (true stories)
8:00 Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour (variety)
9:00 The Columbia Workshop - "Now It's Summer" (drama)
9:30 Americans at Work (true stories)
10:00 News (news)
10:15 Music (music)
10:30 Albert Warner (news)
11:30 Teddy Powell Band (music)
12:00 Louis Prima Orchestra (music)
12:30 Bob Chester Orchestra (music
WJSV's humble beginning...
WJSV's call letters once belonged to another radio station that went on the air in 1928. The original WJSV was located in Mt Vernon Hills,Virginia (and in conflicting data Alexandria, or Washington DC) on the dial at 1460 AM (FM broadcast wasn't viable until 1946). According to legend the folks in the original broadcast area believed the call letters were an acronym that stood for "Jesus Saves Virginia" but actually stood for James S. Vance (general manager of the Fellowship Forum--). In the early '40s, the station became WTOP. Even though many stations call letters were assigned by the government you'll find a many stations used slogan acronyms to determine these.
Harry C. Butcher (1910-59), who was a Naval Aide to President Dwight Eisenhower, was Manager of radio station WJSV (later WTOP) in Washington D.C. from 1932-1934 and Vice President in charge of WJSV from 1934-1942 . WJSV was a CBS affiliate and in 1939 recorded its entire broadcast day (no small feat in the pre-audio tape era).
I was fortunate enough to obtain a first generation copy of this. It sounds as if it were live. For some reason, early encoding quality left especially the early hours with Godfrey a little muffled. Still, this is great that this can be heard for free. Thanks to the up-loader.
I suspect the reason the baseball game was joined in progress was due to the special joint session of Congress.
June 17, 2010 Subject:
Another source, with marked segments
It's great to be able to download the entire day as MP3s. For another approach, a University of Virginia American Studies project turned these recordings into a Web site titled "A Day in Radio" (which Google can find), with each group of two or three 15 minute Quicktime mov audio clips presented on a separate Web page with some contextual information.
For instance, the note on the 8 a.m. news cast says: "The Arrow News Show delivers up-to-date news and is brought to you by Arrow Beer of Baltimore. Today you will hear the latest on the European War and Roosevelt's attempts to repeal the Neutrality Act. After the news, enjoy local chatter featuring birthdays, some musical numbers, and of course, lots of commercials."
March 6, 2010 Subject:
Really, REALLY enjoyed these! The music is great, and its such a pleasure to listen to a full day of what people back in '39 would've heard by tuning in their radios.
I saw a reviewer mention that the Wizard of Oz song "You're Out Of The Woods" played in here, but I haven't been able to find where it plays, only heard "In the Merry Old Land Of Oz". Anyone mind elaborating on what part "You're Out of the Woods" plays?
Thanks again for posting this wonderful collection!
September 21, 2009 Subject:
happy 70th anniversary!
A real treasure.
May 23, 2009 Subject:
I first heard this collection in 1983 on a radio show that featured old time radio collections from the late 30's up to 1949.
They played the collection over a three week period skipping some of the show.
It's nice to be able to download the entire broadcast day to ad to my private old time radio collection.
I never imagined I could ever get to hear an entire day's broadcasting from 1939. I only wish I could shake the hand of the person who took the decision to record all this. The local nature of the broadcast and the interviews with ordinary people are the most facinating for me. It must have been an absolute joy to listen to such variety on radio in those days.
PS: In answe to 'uncleroy' the number is called 'Stardust' not sure of the artist except to say that the Glenn Miller orchestra and most of the other bands did versions of it, often at quite different tempos. Certainly a great little ditty and one that totally reflects the era. Its almost spooky to think that people actually listened to the early broadcast as they shaved for work or got the youngsters ready for breakfast with cornflakes or maybe wheetos.
For all our technology and advances in medicine I believe people in the first half of the 20th century lived in a much better era.
February 7, 2009 Subject:
An absolute treasure!
I love OTR, but this is going to be such a treat for my 81 year old mother-in-law! She has no idea any of this stuff exists anymore... what a surprise for her!
January 23, 2009 Subject:
Beautiful! Delicious! Happiness! Joy! What an incredible and absolute treasure! You'll never get any closer to a time machine than taking a day off, starting this up promptly at 6:00am and listening to the whole thing.
Thank you, 1,000 times, Thank YOU!
January 20, 2009 Subject:
A Great Slice of History
This is great! I love old radio programs anyway, and to have the opportunity to hear the entire broadcast day of a radio station back in the day is simply amazing! To whoever found these recordings, thank you ever so much! Your hard work allows us to enjoy these programs. This is radio as I wish it still was, back when one had to use one's imagination to paint the pictures.
September 13, 2008 Subject:
A fascinating days broadcast just after the outbreak of WW2 ( it started in '39 in England).
The music shows are good, the soaps have not improved with time, news is an insight to what we know now and the comedy is timeless.
Download enjoy and be humbled.
September 10, 2008 Subject:
This is great!
It is one of my favorite listens right now...I plan on playing it on Sep. 21st, starting at 6am...
To the person who asked about other reccordings like this...this one, and the D-Day one, are the only ones I have ever heard of, as far as being complete day...but, there are a lot of original broadcasts from stations...that last an hour or 2...you can find them by looking for "radio airchecks"...on the web...
Question...does anyone know what the song at 9 minutes after 6am, is called on this reccording...it's a big band swing tune...love to know what it is...
And thanks for uploading this wonderful selection...
February 29, 2008 Subject:
This would be great for any DC History class!
As a native of DC (although born in 1963), I am enjoying this set immensely. To hear Arthur Godfrey talk about different locations in DC is just incredible and a true history lesson.
For the OTR fan in me, it is just incredible to listen how a typical day of radio was at that time!
February 10, 2008 Subject:
I love this!
My Grandmother was 10 years old in 1939. The Wizard of Oz had just been released. You can hear several of the songs from the movie during this broadcast.
I also heard the original version of Mammy's Little Baby Loves Shortnin Bread.(It would not be PC to play it these days)
When you listen to this, you are transported back in time. It is a great trip. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.
January 15, 2008 Subject:
Wow, this is impressive.
I am really impressed with this - I listened to a lot of radio shows before this, but it wasn't until I listened to this that I could imagine what people listened to when they gathered around the radio. Very much recommended.
June 12, 2007 Subject:
One of the most AMAZING RADIO DOCUMENTATIONS ever!
This is definitely one of the most amazing documentations of AMERICAN LIFE ever made... its literally like getting in a time machine and travelling back in time - - and to boot, you get to hear your favorite radio shows in the context of when they were aired.
Besides the D-day one, does anybody know if any others like this exist?
June 11, 2007 Subject:
There is so much here to recommend, but it's the surrealistic little things that grab the attention:
shows sponsored by a defunct Baltimore brewery, a rendition of "You're Out of the Woods" from Wizard of OZ, cheesy daytime programming cutting away to news reports about WW2 starting up.
Reviewer:Archive fan -
June 8, 2007 Subject:
An audio time capsule
I downloaded all the audio files and saved them for a recent cross-country car trip. I haven't gotten through it all yet, but it was truly enjoyable. For me, it's a glimpse of an era way before I was born. What a treat to hear radio "as it happened," starting out from the station sign on (and their transmitter troubles) through morning shows, news, game shows and soap operas. The early Arthur Godfrey show, with his off-the-cuff banter, record spinning, and local guest interviews is a fascinating visit to a bygone time. Instead of carefully edited and canned programming, this recording provides both extemporaneous chat and music or scripted programming presented live; it's a typical day in the late 1930's unfolding via radio. The humanity and honesty translate down through the years, certainly in stark contrast to the colorless computerized pap of our current broadcasting. The audio quality is good. Since it's a full broadcast day, one or more of the programs will appeal to almost everyone. I recommend listening to it all, front to back, as it happened. It's the closest thing to being there.
May 14, 2007 Subject:
corrected program name
10:45 Aunt Jenny's True Life Stories is actually Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories
Reviewer:L Maupin -
January 24, 2007 Subject:
September 21, 1939 On Demand
Listening to this recorded broadcast gives us a sense of what it was like to live in Washington, D.C. on a fall day in 1939. Much of the news provided throughout the hours is local (commissioners meeting today on the budget; a petition to improve Leesburg Pike) as are the announcements (a regatta on the Potomac; the jitterbug semifinals of the Harvest Moon Ball; an ice cream social hosted by the Grainsville Methodist Church). Area businesses sponsor many of the programs (Zlotnik the Furrier, "at the sign of the big white bear," 12th and G Northwest; Coast-In Pontiac, "in the 400 block of Florida Avenue Northeast"; Kinsman Optical Company, "since 1900"). Also, a number of the shows are locally originated, such as Sundial with Arthur Godfrey, Certified Magic Carpet (a quiz show aired from the Cabinet Room of the Willard Hotel), and a Washington Senators baseball game from Griffith Stadium.
Nor is the larger world neglected. We hear news throughout the day of the war that broke out in Europe earlier in the month, and there are reports on such topics as the stock market and the cost of foodstuffs nationally. We hear music from artists who are popular throughout the country such as Horace Heidt, Bing Crosby and Artie Shaw. And there are plenty of network shows, including almost twenty soap operas, Amos 'n' Andy, and Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour.
This fabulous relic of a bygone era would be one of the brightest gems in any old-time radio collection.